San Jose Sharks player Evander Kane was accused this week of placing wagers on his own games by his wife, Anne Kane. The alleged sports bets would fly in the face of National Hockey League guidelines, prohibiting players from betting on games involving teams they play for. Kane has denied the allegations, but an investigation has still been launched by the NHL.
In the NHL’s collective bargaining agreement, specifically the “standard club rules” section, the wording of the rule is unambiguous and succinct. “Gambling on any NHL game is prohibited.” This list of club rules is posted in every dressing room throughout the league, and it is the second rule present on the club guidelines.
The Possible Effect on The NHL’s Reputation
Bets like those alleged against Kane would tarnish the NHL’s reputation, and encourage players to throw games for profit. Kane’s position as Left-wing, though not as influential as someone like a team’s goalie, could still have a major influence over the score of a game. If the audience believes games are fixed, faith in the integrity of the sport overall could be at risk. The NHL has thrown its full weight behind legitimate sports betting, and this could be a PR nightmare.
Evander Kane has denied the allegations and says that his wife is not a reliable source of information. The couple is currently going through a divorce, and Kane says his wife is not mentally well. Anne Kane’s Instagram posts, while certainly vitriolic, are not without their nuggets of indisputable truth. While her accusations of infidelity may be incorrect, and her claim he has thrown games to win bets is also in question, the proof of Evander’s gambling addiction is overwhelming.
Evander Kane’s Gambling History
The NHL player does have a provable and sordid history of gambling troubles. Kane was known amongst his teammates to be a prolific gambler, but only recently has the truth about the extent of his addiction come to light. In 2019, he failed to pay a $500,000 casino marker from The Cosmopolitan Casino after betting on the Vegas Golden Knights, another NHL team. For this, the player was sued by the Las Vegas casino but continued to run up gambling debt.
This financial pressure built to a head in 2021, as Kane filed for bankruptcy earlier this year. The Chapter 7 Bankruptcy documents show he lost nearly 1.5 million on gambling alone in 2020, a staggering amount that has certainly raised eyebrows among the NHL investigators. In addition, the hockey player has a clear history of unhealthy behavior when it comes to sports wagering.
This also comes after rumors of the San Jose Sharks’ intention to trade Evander Kane. While some of his teammates have defended the player in his sports betting accusations, many are tired of his repeated disregard for team rules. Whether this lack of respect for rules extended into the realm of breaking NHL guidelines is yet to be seen. But a pattern of rule-flouting behavior is slowly being established.
If these allegations are found to be true, the San Jose Sharks player could lose his contract and incur significant fines. Not only that, but it could destroy his legacy in hockey, as these sorts of scandals have done in other sports leagues. A famous case of sports betting tarnishing a reputation can be found in baseball legend Pete Rose.
Cincinnati Reds player turned manager, Rose was accused of betting on his own team. After an investigation, while it was never proven he was betting on his own team, investigators found evidence that he was betting on baseball during his management career. As a result, a man who should be remembered for his historic contribution to the sport received a lifetime ban from Major League Baseball and was forever barred from entering the hall of fame.
What does the future hold for Evander Kane, and NHL sports betting?
So is Evander Kane’s legacy destined to suffer the same fate? Will a fine and contract termination further aggravate his financial troubles? How will this affect the NHL’s stance on sports betting?
Only time will tell, as Kane remains adamant he has never placed a wager on his own team. As the NHL continues its investigation, Shark’s fans will have to wait to find out the truth. If these accusations are proven true, they could have devastating fallout for not only Kane, but the status of sports betting in the NHL moving forward.